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article imageDreadlocks cut and run in Johannesburg, South Africa

By Anne Sewell     Jan 29, 2013 in Odd News
Johannesburg - If you live in Johannesburg and sport "dreads", watch out, there are thieves on the loose looking for your hair. Apparently there is a rising demand for natural dreadlocks as extensions.
In the latest incident, Jasper Munsinwa was apparently partying at a night club in Johannesburg when he noticed that his friend was missing. When he went to look for him, he found his friend passed out, and missing all his dreadlocks, which had been shorn off.
His friend was Mutsa Madonko, who was visiting from Zimbabwe earlier this month, but apparently he is only one of a growing number of people who have had their "dreads" stolen in the last few months.
Hair stylists say that the thefts are probably connected to a rising demand for natural dreadlocks for use as extensions. Because shoulder-length dreadlocks are sold for between R200 and R700 ($22 to $77) and longer ones can cost as much as R2500 ($277), there is a growing market in the item.
According to Munsinwa, only his friend's hair, which had taken him 10 years to grow, was stolen. "When we found him, he still had his cellphone and wallet with all his money inside."
A group of dreadlock stylists who work outside the Central Methodist Church in central Johannesburg told the media that there is such a demand for dreadlocks, few questions are asked when someone has some for sale.
According to one of the stylists, John Wushe: "They are becoming very popular. On a busy day we get about 10 people [wanting] to extend their hair."
However, these days not everyone wants to use a stranger's hair. According to Willy Selahla of Soweto: "I'm using my brother's hair because I know where it comes from and that he wasn't hurt."
The theft of dreadlocks seems to be mostly popular in Johannesburg, as apparently there has only been one case reported to the Durban central police station last year. Also the Johannesburg police are saying they have had no reports.
Johannesburg police spokesman Captain John Maluleka is encouraging victims to open cases of assault. He said: "We have only heard stories - no cases have been reported to us."
According to Maluleka, it might just be a case of victims being too embarrassed to report the theft of their hair.
According to a stylist in Randburg, Lebo Masimong, women are the most vulnerable in these thefts.
"You are an easy target if you walk around the CBD and your hair is loose. They don't care about your money or fancy phone. They are only after your hair."
More about Johannesburg, gauteng, South Africa, dreadlocks, Theft
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